I will be at DIY Days on Friday, October 28th, presenting my Artistic Entrepreneurship workshop from 3:45 to 4:25 pm. I will be speaking about how to create long term relationships with fans through engagement, live events, merchandise and digital releases. Half the time will be allotted for presentation, and half the time will be devoted to workshopping audience projects/artistic brands.
Some of the other great speakers at DIY Days include Joel Arquillos, Hunter Weeks, Henry Jenkins, Jim Babb, Yomi Ayeni, Adam Chapnick and Christy Dena, among others. At 5:30 pm I will be at UCLA’s Young Research Library for the L.A. launch party of my new book Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul cowritten with The Film Collaborative and Sheri Candler. Hope to see you there.
On Thursday and Friday of this week (Oct 20-21) I will be at the Flyway Film Festival, presenting my two-day Think Outside the Box Office workshop on the ever-changing world of hybrid distribution and marketing. Today, though, I am thrilled to share a guest post from Chilean filmmaker Bernardo Palau whose first feature film ‘Saving You’ had a small theatrical release in Chile in November 2010 and is now available on iTunes. Here is his post:
PUTTING CHILEAN FILM ON THE MAP
By Bernardo Palau
I live in Chile — a long and thin land at the end of the world — at the southernmost point of South America. Chile is a country mainly known for its wines, the variety of its landscapes and its writers and poets like Isabel Allende, Pablo Neruda and Vicente Huidobro.
I say “mainly” because every day Chile is getting more and more known for a different kind of poet/storyteller: its filmmakers. Over the last few years many Chilean films have navigated the A-class film festival circuit, which has placed Chile on the map of world cinema in the eyes of the press.
Leaving aside the recently deceased Raoul Ruiz and his prolific filmography, many directors, including Sebastian Silva (‘The Maid’), Matias Bize (‘The life of the fish’), Pablo Larraín (‘Tony Manero’), Gonzalo Justiniano (‘B-Happy’), Sebastian Lelio (‘Christmas’), and others have created a lot of buzz at various international film festivals. But is that all there is to Chilean cinema?
No, actually. There are still a lot of Chilean films out there that the world doesn’t know about yet.
Allow me to explain: In Chile we have two major kind of films, the Public (or State) co-finance films, which have big budgets for our industry (normally between $500,000 and $2,000,000), enabling them to have a great festival presence around the world. On the other hand, we also have micro-budget guerrilla / garage films that work with small budgets, small crews and a lot of good will.
Chris Horton asked me to write this post for the new Artist Services website that Sundance has set up. However, many filmmakers don’t have access to that site, and so I am posting it here on my blog for anyone to be able to read. Here is the post:
In 2005 I started a documentary project that became Bomb It which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007, was released on DVD, iTunes and Netflix via New Video and has had an extended life on VOD (Gravitas), Web series (Babelgum), various foreign sales (PAL DVD this month on Dogwoof) etc. As many of you know, my experience releasing Bomb It inspired me to write a manual for other filmmakers to release their films in this new distribution landscape: Think Outside the Box Office. Chris Horton approached me to write a post on how I would release Bomb It in today’s distribution landscape (and knowing what I know now). I’ve actually thought about this a lot (mostly kicking my self for what I could have done better!)
Continue reading →
The first segment of the IFP Filmmaker Labs were very fun and exciting this year. A great group of docs and narrative.
Next week I will be in the UK. First doing a one day TOTBO workshop at the Edinburgh Film Festival on June 22nd then I’ll be doing a Keynote for Short Sighted presented by BAFTA and Shooting People on the 23rd. I’ll also be doing one on one consultations with films on the 23rd through Creative Scotland.
Next I’m doing a 2 day workshop at the London Film School June 25th, 26th, so if you are in London I hope to see you then. For this workshop we have the some excellent special guests lined up: Terry Stevens from Dogwoof, Chris Jones, filmmaker and author of the Guerilla Filmmaker’s Handbook Series and via skype we’ll have Sheri Candler, filmmaker Gregory Bayne giving tips for a successful crowdfunding campaign and Peter Gerard of the exciting new DIY distribution tool Distrify.
And some other previews of upcoming releases:
Dogwoof will be releasing the multi language PAL version of Bomb It July 25th.
In September, The Film Collaborative, Sheri Candler and I will be releasing Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul Presented by PreScreen – Case Studies in Hybrid, DIY and P2P Independent Distribution. This is a series of case studies that dives deep into independent film distribution. There will be much more information on this in the coming months – if you would like to know more – check out (and like) the Facebook page for the book. We’ll be launching at the IFP Week in NYC where I will also be for part 3 of the IFP Filmmaker Labs.
Today’s guest post is by filmmaker Solomon Mac-Auley who contacted me to offer his opinion about a DIY Digital alternative that I have been intrigued by called Egg Up. Egg Up offers an elegant solution for filmmakers to monetize their films via Electronic Sell Through (previously known as Download to Own) by selling a film digitally while protecting it from being copied. I was curious as to how consumer experience was with the service – so here is Solomon’s feeling about Egg Up:
Prevent Film Piracy and Globally Monetize Instantly by Solomon Mac-Auley, QNX LTD
Piracy is the biggest worldwide threat to the film industry. The internet and social media have made it easy for consumers to pirate and share movies illegally. This growing model has disrupted and destroyed the traditional distribution channels such as DVDs, theatres, video stores and pay-per-view providers. It also doesn’t help that many platforms and media channels do not have any digital-rights-management (DRM) in place to prevent piracy. This phenomenon has cost the industry a whopping $18.2 billion and the figure is growing daily and has left in its wake a growing number of frustrated filmmakers and distributors who are unable to monetize their films. Continue reading →
First off – the next Totbo workshop is in Vancouver in just 2 weeks: February 26 and 27th being organized by DOC BC with support from the NFB and British Columbia Film. If you are in the Vancouver area – I hope to see you there!
Today’s guest post is from Jeff Rosen from Breakthrough Distribution who helps clients replicate their DVDs and connect with fulfillment companies. For those of you who have bought the book from my store – you’ll perhaps remember one of the bonus gifts when you buy the book is a discount on replication provided by Breakthrough Distribution for purchasers of the book. In the aftermath of the Neoflix debacle, Jeff has taken the time to outline a few fulfillment options for filmmakers:
E-Commerce & Fulfillment Suggestions
DIY: If your sales volume is low and/or you want to maximize the amount you make per sale, fulfilling from your office or home is the most cost-effective option. You can set up PayPal (or other shopping cart/payment account) and ship orders as they come in. This allows you to control the funds, manage the relationship with clients, and ensure your products are sent out on time.
Amazon Fulfillment Services: Amazon provides several options, ranging from simply storing and shipping your items to providing payment processing, customer service, and listing products on Amazon.com. These options range from fulfillment fees of $3.50 for a single DVD to 55% of the total sale amount. You can see these options at http://www.amazonservices.com/content/fulfillment-by-amazon.htm#pane-example-dvd (Jon’s note – On Thursday I’ll have another post about how to maximize fulfillment through Amazon.
Transit Media (TM): If you are seeking to have a reliable third party handle all aspects of fulfillment, we recommend Transit Media, www.transitmedia.net. TM has been in business over 30 years and provides e-commerce/fulfillment services to 100+ film distributors and independent producers; this includes Women Make Movies and New Day Films. We have been working with TM for approximately 18 months and have 35+ clients there that are happy with their services.
TM sets up your shopping cart at no cost, provides an integrated payment processing- fulfillment-customer service platform that enables filmmakers to simply and easily sell any merchandise (DVDs, CDs, t-shirts, hats, posters, etc.) quickly and easily from their websites. When a customer purchases a DVD/merchandise from your site, TM processes the payment and ships the products(s) domestically or internationally. Transit manages all customer service questions/issues related to the purchase. Accounts are reconciled on a bi-monthly basis = you get paid every 2 weeks. There is no set up fees, monthly minimums, or hidden charges. TM takes phone orders and purchase orders and provides unlimited customer service.
Handling Fees + Actual Postage:
You can charge any amount you want to the customer for shipping and handling. For example, you charge:
o $25 for your DVD + $7 for shipping/handling = $32 total revenue to you
o Transit charges you $7
o Postage is $2
o Transaction fee of 5% = $1.35
o $21.65 net revenue to you
TM processes phone, Internet, fax and purchase orders at no additional charge.
Transaction Fee: In addition to shipping/handling fees, there’s a fee of 5% on the total transaction/sale. This covers the cost of processing payments, order processing, reporting, accounting and customer service.
Expedited Service: additional fee for overnight (FedEx), international orders, and other premium shipping services.
The contact person at TM is Jim Knox
190 Route 17M
To obtain special rate of $7 (normally $8.10), please mention to Jim that you were referred by Jon Reiss/Jeff Rosen/Breakthrough Distribution
DVD replication, authoring or outreach) please call (310.425.2312) or email Jeff Rosen @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Includes glass master, replication, full-color on-disc printing, full-color cover printing, black DVD case, assembly and overwrap. Shipping and freight charges are additional.
• 1,000 units: $1.09/unit
• 2,500 units: $0.95/unit
• 5,000 units: $0.92/unit
• 10,000 units: $0.82/unit
• 25,000 units: $0.68/unit
Turnaround: 10 days from approval of check discs and artwork. Continue reading →
The Film Collaborative was recently on a panel at the Los Angeles Film Festival as part of their SEIZE THE POWER SYMPOSIUM which focused on DIY & DIGITAL Distribution. This was the description of the panel we were on and that I moderated and will discuss below:
NEW DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION INITIATIVES
Leading digital distribution executives present new solutions for distribution
as they explain their business models and the opportunities they offer
filmmakers to reach audiences and bring in revenue for their films.
After the panel was over someone asked how he could decide which one of us to work with; he liked us all. It was clear to me that even though we had just finished an hour long panel at which we each presented our respective companies and then answered questions, it was not enough to make clear to everyone the way in which to relate to each company and how to make decisions about whom to work with in distribution.
Recently on Ted Hope’s blog
Jon Reiss and Ted Hope and many others including filmmakers discussed the relevance of panels and expert books and even more recently Jon Reiss wrote a blog titled “Coping with Symposium Workshop Brain Fry”. That is what I want to address here, specifically in relation to the panel I moderated and was on called “New Digital Initiatives”.
At the LAFF Panel all the companies discussed what they do and here’s some of that information below, and what we recommend a filmmaker do to make sense of information given at a panel.
Gravitas Ventures talked about its focus on Cable VOD and the fact that it works with Warner Brothers (WB) which (when WB takes a film) can lead to a film being available in up to as many as 50,000,000 homes via about 30 – 40 cable operators and up to 80,000,000 – 90,000,000 homes when one factors in digital. When WB does not take the film on Gravitas can at least get the film out to about up to 12,000,000 – 15,000,000 Cable VOD homes. Of course one in this circumstance has to realize that when WB is in the picture, there are two fees being taken as well as two companies being relied on to provide information and to pay. The other aspects to analyze are 1. the benefits of having a studio involved in VOD and Digital often leads to HIGHER revenues from Cable MSOs (Multi System Operators) and digital platforms and also MARKETING LEVERAGE. But, 2. the Studios are also glutted and not necessarily focusing on your film and you may get lost or inadvertently shafted (and I know it’s happened) so one has to have contractual commitments or protective clauses, and 3. They won’t let you keep digital rights usually, though maybe Netflix SVOD; and 4. accounting can be soft on the details. Gravitas does 2-year deals and about 350 -400 films per year and is the largest VOD aggregator at this time. Gravitas noted revenues per film ranging from as low as $5,000 – $250,000. A FILMMAKER must ADDRESS MARKETING and COSTS RECOUPMENT whether in dealing with Gravitas or any other Cable VOD & Digital Aggregator (e.g. TFC also works with Brainstorm Media & Fluent / Lions Gate), or any of the other studios who are or will be opening up to “independent product”.
The Film Collaborative’s entire purpose is to help sift through the information available at the time your film is ready or will be ready for release and help you resolve your COMPLETE DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY. Gravitas Ventures can get you the VOD and digital access you need but they don’t necessarily do much in the way of marketing so that will be more up to you to either have them commit to that effort or do it yourself (and perhaps in collaboration with us and our marketing partners). A marketing plus (+) though for Gravitas is that if WB gets behind your film, they can get iTunes and the Cable Operators to give your film a bigger marketing push. This can be very valuable.
Continue Reading The Article Use the Following URL: http://www.thefilmcollaborative.org/blog/?p=76
This was published on voyagemedia.com today.
Author Jon Reiss on the Death of the Film Festival AND HIS BEST KEPT SECRETS THAT COULD MAKE YOUR NEXT INDIE FILM A SUCCESS!!
In his interview with Nat Mundel, independent filmmaker, author, and educator Jon Reiss unabashedly confirms one thing: the film festival acquisition model is dead or dying.
But Reiss hasn’t sat idly, waiting for his films to get picked up. Instead, he throws up his middle finger to would-be buyers. Taking matters into his own hands, Reiss has booked his own theater screenings for his film Bomb It across 27 cities, and has even sold bootleg DVDs of his film along the way (yes, he bootlegged his own film; in so many words, badass.)
Since 2007, Reiss has become one of the go-to experts on Do It Yourself (DIY) film distribution, publishing the DIY Bible Think Outside the Box Office in November of ’09. We got Reiss to open up about his book, his DIY workshops, and his predictions about the future of independent film.
Watch and listen for 4 major tips to get your next indie film project an audience before you even lens up.
This is my article published on screendaily.com.
The Producer of Marketing and Distribution
BY JON REISS
In my first guest column for Screen Daily in November of last year, I introduced what I call the new 50/50. This idea is to convey to filmmakers that half of their work is making the film, half of their work is connecting the film to an audience.
As a filmmaker, I know how difficult adopting these new tasks of marketing and distribution are. I also know how they can interfere with making new films – and there have been a fair amount of complaints lately from filmmakers about being responsible for doing this additional work.
However, just like most filmmakers do not make their films on their own, they should not be distributing and marketing those films on their own. I would argue that from now on, every film needs one person devoted to the distribution and marketing of the film from inception, just as they have a line producer, assistant director, or editor. This person is part of your team from inception, not tacked on at the end of the process.
This is why last autumn, just before sending Think Outside the Box Office to print, I came up with the concept of the Producer of Marketing and Distribution or the PMD. I gave this crew position an official title of PMD because without an official position, this work will continue to not get done. I gave this position the title of producer because it is that important. (For someone learning the ropes, you can start them at coordinator then move them up to associate producer and so on).
Creating a crew position will cause people to seek jobs as a PMD, train to become a PMD, apprentice as a PMD just as people do this for any film crew position. (I’ve already received emails from people excited to become PMDs.) Without a title, it won’t happen. The creation of this crew position should spur schools and institutes to create curriculums in order to train people to fill this role and other people will write books about it (just as there are a plethora of books on how to be a line producer).
I look forward to a near future in which filmmakers/directors will be able to put out calls for PMDs just as they do for DPs and Editors – and that they will get an equal volume of applications. Directors will develop long term relationships with PMDs that “get them” just as they do with DPs, Editors, and Producers etc.
Responsibilities of the PMD include:
1. Identify and engage with the audience for a film.
2. Development of a distribution and marketing strategy and plan for a film in conjunction with the entire team.
3. Create a budget for said plan.
4. Assemble and supervise the necessary team/crew elements to carry out the plan.
5. Audience outreach through organizations, blogs, social networking, online radio etc.
6. Supervise the creation of promotional and (if necessary due to the lack of a separate transmedia coordinator) trans media elements: including the films website script and concept for transmedia, production stills, video assets – both behind the scenes and trans media, promotional copy and art.
7. Outreach to potential distribution and marketing partners such as sponsors, promotional partners, various distribution entities, publicists.
8. When appropriate, engage the distribution process as designed.
9. Supervise the creation of deliverables.
I have created a number of educational activities to help recognize the creation of this position and help filmmakers take control of the distribution and marketing of their films. The first was the book mentioned above which I feel is the first training manual for the PMD. The second is a distribution and tools website www.ultimatefilmguides.com. Finally, I am beginning a series of Think Outside the Box Office (TOTBO) Workshops throughout the world kicking off in London next week on May 8&9 followed by Amsterdam, New York, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, San Francisco and Boston. All of these resources should help define the position and the duties of the PMD and I encourage filmmakers to take advantage of these opportunities to learn and grow in their abilities and their craft.